Just on a whim, I had a quick look to try to find the longest books I’ve read. Now, two things must be noted: first, that I’m taking ‘longest’ fairly literally. And, second, that I’m taking ‘book’ literally. So these are the single volumes that I have read in that format that have the most pages. This isn’t the highest wordcount, which would be very hard to calculate. It also isn’t the literal dimensions of the book, which depends on the paper as well as the page count, and would involve me using a ruler for every book. It’s just a simple metric, and is entirely unfair, as it depends on which edition I happen to have of which book (most importantly hardcover vs paperback). But just for fun… the 30 longest books, in page counts, I’m aware of having read:
30. Illusion (Volsky). 700 pages.
29. The Great Hunt (Jordan). 707 pages.
28. Royal Assassin (Hobb). 752 pages.
27. A Feast for Crows (Martin). 753.
26. A Crown of Swords (Jordan). 762.
25. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (Hofstadter). 777.
24. A Clash of Kings (Martin). 778.
23. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Five Parts (Adams). 784.
22. The Eye of the World (Jordan). 800.
21. Fool’s Fate (Hobb). 805.
20. Servant of Empire (Feist & Wurts). 827.
19. A Game of Thrones (Martin). 835.
18. Assassin’s Quest (Hobb). 838.
17. Fourteen Great Plays (Various). 857.
16. Mistress of Empire (Feist & Wurts). 860.
15. Dhalgren. (Delany). 879.
14. Ship of Magic (Hobb). 880.
13. Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern (Hofstadter)
12. Ship of Destiny (Hobb). 903.
11. The Mad Ship (Hobb). 906.
10. The Fires of Heaven (Jordan). 912.
9. The Complete Chronicles of the Jerusalem Man (Gemmell). 1,000 pages.
8. A Dance With Dragons (Martin). 1,007.
7. Dragonlance: Chronicles (Weiss & Hickman). 1,030.
6. The Shadow Rising (Jordan). 1,031.
5. Lord of Chaos (Jordan). 1,035.
4. The Border Trilogy (McCarthy). 1,038.
3. Ash: A Secret History (Gentle). 1,120.
2. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever (Donaldson). 1,160.
1. The Elenium (Eddings). 1,261 pages.
Of these, probably the physically thickest book is my hardcover of A Dance With Dragons, with A Feast for Crows, Fool’s Assassin and Fool’s Fate following along behind – these hardcovers (particularly Fool’s Assassin, which has fewer pages than Fool’s Fate yet seems thicker) seem to have nicer pages, whereas my copies of The Elenium (pages so thin you can see through them) and Thomas Covenant (the ink rubs off on your hands) have rather lower print qualities and hence more pages per inch. However, even A Dance With Dragons pales beside my volumes of Absolute Sandman – which is thinner, but much larger in total volume and mass thanks to larger page sizes. In terms of wordcounts, presumably The Elenium is largest, although there’s an outside chance for Covenant, as The Elenium wastes space on chapter-heading pictures and a couple of maps and things, whereas I don’t think my copy of Covenant does. Of the non-omnibus books, it’s probably Ash, although A Dance With Dragons might run it close.
Of course, these aren’t the biggest things on my bookshelf. For that, we have to look at four books I haven’t read fully:
-1. Europe: A History (Davies). 1,365 pages. Hey, I read half of it!
-2./-3. The Grammophone Classical Good CD Guide (Various) and The National Wealth: Who Gets What in Modern Britain (Hobson). 1,376 pages. (I may have a different year of the CD guide, so the number may be off a little).
And the all-time absolute no-I-will-never-read-this-cover-to-cover longest book I own:
-4. The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs (Various). 1,600 pages.
(It’s actually a guide to classical music recordings available to purchase in the late 1990s. Because what else could you use a CD for?)